"Support Local" movement gains traction

The coronavirus pandemic has brought the world to its knees, dismantling businesses and tearing down the way we perceive normal. Everywhere you go, industries are shutting down, workers are losing jobs and lives are being disrupted. 

And yet, there is a silver lining beneath the gloom as it has brought the Filipinos' focus on their own world-class Filipino brands, giving birth to a growing movement calling for everyone to support homegrown industries.

It makes sense supporting Filipino brands. Local products use resources sourced locally, creating jobs for Filipinos even during the pandemic. Multiplied a thousand fold, it's a cycle that benefits Filipino workers in particular, and the economy as a whole. There is indeed truth to the saying, it doesn't hurt to love your own.

From humble beginnings to giant economic feats, many local brands have shown the true meaning of Filipino diligence, both the small and medium enterprises, all the way to the giant conglomerates. From the first dibs on the "langhap sarap" magic of a homegrown fried chicken recipe, or the distinct taste of an age-old brew, the following companies have strived hard in making their products truly world-class. 

Here are some of the country's homegrown brands that lead the way during these hard times.

1. San Miguel Corporation

San Miguel Corporation or SMC, established in 1890 as a single brewery in the Philippines under La Fabrica de Cerveza de San Miguel, has become one of the Philippines' largest employers.

SMC, headed by President and Chief Executive Officer of Top Frontier Investment Holdings, Inc. (PSE: TFHI), the largest shareholder of San Miguel Corporation, has a direct workforce of 28,586 employees as of December 2018, At present, it has more than 100 major facilities in the Philippines, Southeast Asia, China, Australia, and New Zealand.

Starting out as Southeast Asia's first brewery, which produced and bottled what would eventually become one of the best-selling beers in the region, SMC has established its product as among the top beer brands in the world.

2. Universal Robina Corporation

Universal Robina Corporation or URC sprouted from the vision of a pioneer from Cebu and is now one of the largest branded consumer food and beverage product companies in the Philippines. 

Tagged as among the Philippines' pioneers in the industry, URC started out as a cornstarch manufacturing plant in Pasig City. It has been operating for over 50 years since the late John Gokongwei, Jr. established Universal Corn Products Inc. in 1954. 

According to the company, it has a significant and growing presence in the ASEAN and Oceania markets, engaging in an array of food-related businesses, including the production and distribution of branded consumer snack foods and beverages; commodities such as sugar and flour; and agro-industrial businesses mainly hogs, animal feed, and other related products.

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3. Rebisco Corporation

Who would have thought a humble neighbourhood bakery in old San Juan, Manila established in 1963 would produce the Filipinos' favorite packaged pastries, which they continue to love to this day. 

For over 57 years, the Republic Biscuit Corporation or REBISCO, a recognized pioneer in the biscuit industry, has positioned itself to be one of the dominant players in the Philippine snack food business, with a growing global presence.

Jacinto Ng, the founder of Republic Biscuit, started the business as England Biscuit Factory. Backed up by an English-type rotary oven which was considered top-of-the-line then, REBISCO produced flagship brands Crema and Sodatine. It was in 1972, when it acquired a new image and name, becoming the REBISCO that we know today.

4. Jollibee Corp.

Who doesn't know Jollibee? Millions have flocked to the doors of Jollibee with the Big Red Jolly Bee mascot greeting and ushering every family to a sumptuous serving of unique Pinoy-style spaghetti, Yumburgers, and Chicken Joy. 

From toddlers to foreign vloggers, the appeal of Jollibee has transcended generations and geographies, banking on the universal language of food and familial culture to expand to 1,150 stores nationwide and 80 stores overseas. 

Founded by Tony Tan and his family with its humble beginnings as an Ice Cream Parlor, Jollibee has grown to become a market leader among fast-food chains in the Philippines, claiming a market share that totals more than half of the entire industry, all part of its trajectory as an emerging global brand. 

5. Happy Toothpaste

Providing a variety of quality products for oral care, household and personal care at an affordable cost, Lamoiyan Corporation, the maker of well-loved brands Dazz dishwashing paste/liquid, Licealiz, Kutitap, Gumtect and of course, Hapee toothpaste, is the first Filipino company to succeed in penetrating the local toothpaste industry long dominated by multinationals.

Since its establishment back in 1988,  Lamoiyan was able to maintain a consistent quality standard in their flagship toothpaste Hapee, the primary reason why millions of Filipinos across the nation have patronized and stayed loyal to the brand. 

According to the company, they believe that businesses have the best opportunities to serve their communities. In truth, Lamoiyan Corp. takes an active part in initiatives that promote health, education, and the environment, all part of efforts to contribute to the advancement and progress of the Filipino.

6. SM Supermalls

The company that operates the SM Supermalls was started by Henry Sy Sr. in 1958 as a humble Manila store in Quiapo, named Shoemart. Two years later, Shoemart expanded its shoe store chain and by the 1970s, it was a full-line department store that changed its name to what is now the most popular two combined letters in Filipino culture -- SM. In the 1980s, the company diversified and ventured into the supermarket and home appliance store business, opening the first "supermall" in 1985-- the SM City North EDSA in Quezon City.

 Owned by SM Prime Holdings, SM Supermalls is a chain of shopping malls that as of October 2019 has 74 malls located across the country, with 26 more scheduled to be opened for an eventual total of 100 malls. It also has 7 malls in China.

SM Supermalls has become one of the biggest mall operators in the Southeast Asian region, with 9.24 million square meters of gross floor area, 17,230 tenants in the Philippines and 1,867 tenants in China.

Topics: coronavirus pandemic , lcal products , San Miguel Corporation , Universal Robina Corporation
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